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“Antonio Conte is right to be concerned” – Three things learnt from Chelsea 2-3 Burnley

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Chelsea

Chelsea may be reigning Premier League champions, but survival experts Burnley gave them an opening day shock at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The Blues got off to a nightmare start as Gary Cahill was sent off for a high challenge with his studs showing and the Blues collapsed from that moment on. It didn’t take long for Burnley to capitalise and only ten minutes later Sam Vokes gave his side the lead as he fired a pin-point finish past Thibaut Courtois and into the far corner of the net.

The second came in even more spectacular fashion as produced an impressive rocket which once again left Courtois helpless. That came not long before Vokes’ netted again with a strong header past Courtois to give his team a convincing lead before half-time.

Second half substitute Alvaro Morata pulled one back with a diving header on his debut, and David Luiz’s smart finish meant that there was a faint hope for a comeback, even after Cesc Fabregas saw red for two yellow card offences.

Here are three things that The Boot Room learnt from the game…

Antonio Conte is right to fear the a “Mourinho season”

Only two weeks ago, Antonio Conte expressed his fear that Chelsea could collapse this season. The Italian himself is quoted by the Guardian as having said:

 “We know the difficulty of the next season and for sure we want to avoid the Mourinho season with Chelsea. Two years ago the team ended the league in 10th place and we want to try to avoid this.”

The Blues were embarrassed by the display of Burnley on Saturday. Their ill discipline was clear for all to see as many looked tired and frustrated, despite it still being the opening game of the season. Two red cards showed that much.

Looking to the bench, Antonio Conte was lacking strength in depth. Of those introduced, alongside young Jeremie Boga in the starting eleven, Charly Musonda and Andreas Christensen were among the more experienced. Two suspensions will only put the likes of teenagers Fikayo Tomori and Kyle Scott closer to the starting eleven.

Burnley shouldn’t be relegation candidates

Amongst many pundits and experts, Burnley have been among the favourites to go down this season. They looked nothing like relegation candidates at Stamford Bridge though, and as much as Chelsea were poor, Burnley were excellent.

They will miss Andre Gray’s goals after he moved to Watford, but the often under appreciated Sam Vokes showed that he is more than capable of stepping up. With his brace, two excellent finishes, he made his case and Sean Dyche may now be considering whether Vokes can step up to be the main man alongside a less experienced partner.

Defensively, the Turf Moor club were also strong. It wasn’t until the closing stages when the reigning champions threw everything at them when they found a breakthrough. Few sides score three goals at Stamford Bridge, and Burnley made sure it was enough.

Chelsea desperately need a leader

Gary Cahill may have taken over the armband but his rash and needless challenge, which fairly saw red, just showed that he is a poor replacement for John Terry. David Luiz was another candidate, but his finger pointing and confrontational attitude as soon as things went wrong showed why Conte ignored him from the consideration.

Cesar Azpilicueta stepped in to the role after Cahill’s sending off, but he couldn’t do enough to get his side going. Lacking discipline and losing all control, the Blues were crying out for a leader to calm things down and get them focused again. Instead, they capitulated and conceded three by half time.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Burnley

Jay Rodriguez reunion at Burnley would suit both parties

The 28-year-old is a Turf Moor academy graduate.

Josh Kerr

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Jay Rodriguez
Photo: Getty Image

According to reports from Sky SportsBurnley are interested in signing West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez – a transfer that would be of benefit both parties.

West Brom want to reduce their wage bill, and Sean Dyche’s Clarets are recruiting for their journey in Europe next season, so the deal on paper makes perfect sense.

The forward spent five-years with his hometown club, before a £6 million move to Southampton back in 2012. The 28-year-old was made available after West Brom were relegated from the Premier League earlier this month.

Rodriguez needs a fresh start after enduring one of the more troubling seasons of his career so far. Relegation was overshadowed and clouded by an allegation that he racially abused Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.

He was charged by the FA, but the allegation was not proven. Despite scoring seven times in 37 league games for the Baggies, Rodriguez will agree it’s been a season to forget, and his former club could be the team to save him.

(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

The former Burnley striker was a fan favourite on Turf Moor before his move to Southampton six years ago, scoring 41 times in 128 appearances. He would give Dyche’s side more attacking depth which is an urgent requirement considering they have to juggle the Premier League with Europa League duties next season.

Meanwhilem Darren Moore is desperate to reshape his squad at West Brom and to do that he has to part ways with some of his more marketable players and Rodriguez fit’s into that category.

Burnley will surely be interested in the transfer considering the Englishman scored 11 goals in all competitions for a West Brom side that only managed 31 league goals in total.

The 28-year-old would also be moving closer to home, having been born in Burnley, and he remains one of the club’s most famous success stories from the academy.

The Claret’s should be bold and bring Rodriguez back to the team that discovered his talent. West Brom are desperate to offload their high earners, and the move would be perfect for all parties involved.

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Burnley

Tom Heaton would be the perfect replacement for Joe Hart at West Ham

The 32-year-old is being valued at just £10 million.

Josh Kerr

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Tom Heaton
Photo: Getty Images

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton has emerged as a potential replacement for Joe Hart at West Ham, according to reports from The Sun.

The report claims that Hart will not return to West Ham following his loan move from Manchester City. His mixed time at the club hasn’t given Hammers supporters a reason to demand a permanent deal for the England international.

The 31-year-old is unwanted by Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, and his poor form in East London has meant few clubs are showing an interest.

Instead, the East London side have turned their attention to Burnley and Tom Heaton as their new number one, with the 32-year-old keeper valued at £10 million.

The Chester born keeper began the season as Sean Dyche’s first choice but lost his place to Nick Pope after he suffered a dislocated shoulder last August.

The outstanding Pope and immediately staked a claim to be England’s number one in the summer World Cup. Due to his displays, he looks to have kept Heaton out of the team for the foreseeable future.

(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Considering Heaton has been an England squad regular in recent years, it is difficult to see him happy to be the number two at Turf Moor and an exit for the former Bristol City keeper could be imminent.

With over 178 appearances in the Premier League, Heaton would be the perfect signing for a goalkeeper position that has caused a lot of headache for fans at the London Stadium.

Both Hart and Adrian have been in and out of the first team and neither has pushed their cause as to why they should be the standout choice for the number one spot.

At Burnley, Heaton’s move to the substitute bench is one of the more unfortunate stories of the season as no-one came close to the 6ft 2 keeper before his injury.

If it wasn’t for Pope having one of the greatest debut seasons of the Premier League era then it would have been a given to see Heaton come back in as number one.

His manager, Sean Dyche, will most likely want to keep him at the club, especially considering the club’s Europa League commitments next season.

However, the Burnley boss would also understand that a keeper of his quality is too good to be wasting the final years of his career on the sidelines.

If Heaton were to move to the London Stadium then West Ham will have yet another England international in their ranks.

However, this time they would be getting an assured, established Premier League keeper, who has been fundamental in Burnley’s success for many-a-year.

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Bristol City

Joe Bryan would be the perfect signing for Sean Dyche’s Burnley

The 24-year-old has had a fine individual season at Ashton Gate.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Burnley have been the feel-good story of the Premier League over the last two years, as the club are set to complete a journey from the Championship to the Europa League.

The finances in football mean that it is difficult for a club to progress naturally, but the Clarets have shown that it is still possible and Sean Dyche has been the driving force behind their upwards trajectory.

One major reason for their success has been their recruitment.

The club have not tried to over-spend or sign players based on their reputation.

Their approach allows them to sign players tailored for their needs and it is no surprise that the majority of their signings over the last two years have fitted in seamlessly.

It would be a mistake if they changed their approach this summer, even with the added pressure of the Europa League.

In recent days, they have been linked with one Championship player that seems to be the perfect fit for the squad at Turf Moor.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The Telegraph report that Joe Bryan has emerged as a target for the Premier League club.

They go on to state that Dyche is ready to offer £6 million for the Bristol City left-back as he tries to improve both the quality and depth of the squad ahead of next season.

The rumour mill is starting to accelerate and the majority of media stories need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but this does make a lot of sense.

If Burnley continue with the recruitment policy, Bryan would be a great fit for them and immediately improve their starting eleven at left-back.

Bristol City’s season slowed down during the second half of the campaign, but they have impressed those that have watched them regularly and Bryan has been one of their standout performers.

The left-back has contributed four goals and three assists in the league, in addition to two strikes in the League Cup including one against Manchester United.

He would add a much-needed attacking threat from left full-back and that would provide an extra dimension to the Burnley team.

Although his decision making and defensive contribution needs work, he is a very good young full-back with the potential to thrive in the Premier League.

Bryan is an aggressive defender, as shown by his average of three successful tackles and 3.2 clearances per game.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

At times, he can be guilty of committing to too many forward runs, but that is something that could be addressed.

Dyche is very good at coaching a defence and the 24-year-old would benefit from working with the Burnley manager.

Dyche will be the first to admit that it will be difficult to replicate Burnley’s success, especially with the scheduling problems caused by the Europa League.

However, it would be foolish to make any huge changes to how they are currently conducting business.

Joe Bryan may not be an international with lots of experience in Europe, but he would be a great signing for this squad and fit in immediately.

The Clarets should do everything in their power to secure his services.

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